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Young Rewired State and government electricity wastage

I was recently peripherally involved in Young Rewired State 2010. This was a week long event for young developers aged 15 to 18 and was held across the UK. The idea was simple: the young developers had five days to create an application or website based on a theme that interested them – the only proviso was that it had to use at least one government dataset.

In the Osmosoft offices we hosted a group of seven young developers: Issabell, Daniel, Harry, David, Dylan, Marcus and Sufian. Between them they produced a variety of applications:

Live London Leisure Locator, by Dylan Maryk
CycleHubs, by Daniel May
Un-Named, by Sufian Hassan and Dylan Maryk
GovSpark, by Isabell Long
Psych Survival, Rates by David Goater
UniSearch, by Sufian, David Goater, Harry Burt, Daniel May and Marcus Hughes.

The full list of projects is here.

Of these projects, the one I found most interesting was GovSpark by Isabell Long. A number of government buildings now provide downloadable files of their historical energy use. For example, the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s data is here. Isabell used this data to compare the daytime and nighttime electricity usage of various government buildings. Her investigation showed that many government buildings use substantial amounts of electricity at night – a nighttime electricity consumption rate of 40% of the daytime rate is not atypical. This potentially represents a huge waste – a waste of electricity and also a waste of taxpayers money. Although there may be legitimate reasons why government buildings use so much electricity overnight, I suspect the main reason is that lighting and computers are unnecessarily left on overnight.

I was happy to see that Isabell was awarded the Most likely to antagonise the CIO Council Rewired State Award.

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